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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Solana Doubts Poll Timetable

THE HAGUE -- EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, questioning the Western and Iraqi government line, said on Monday there was little prospect of Iraq holding national elections on time in January because of deteriorating security.

"The situation from the point of view of security does not give much of a hope that [elections] will be realized on the date," Solana told reporters just three days after Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi gave EU leaders an upbeat forecast.

Solana said a 60-day state of emergency declared by Allawi to crush insurgents would take the country almost to the date targeted for elections.

The U.S.-backed Iraqi leader had given EU leaders "a picture of security that was probably more optimistic than the reality has shown," Solana said.

Solana's remarks cast doubt not only on U.S. and Iraqi policy but also on the official declaration of last Friday's EU summit, which endorsed the election timetable.

His unusually public doubts about the elections could cause tension with Britain, the EU member with the most troops deployed in Iraq. Even EU governments that were critical of the invasion of Iraq have called for the elections to be held on time.